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DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme Venus Vacation - Review



KOEI TECMO GAMES CO. LTD. has released the third title of the DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme series in DMM back in 2017, and in Steam (Certain countries in Asia only) on 2019. As a spin-off of the DEAD OR ALIVE series, the game is set in a remote fictitious tropical island called Venus Island in the Pacific once again.


Quick Note

Before coming to the review itself, the English version of this game is only available in a few countries because of the gacha (loot box) and paywall system which can be very expensive. In this review, I will be playing this title without spending a single cent to determine if it is really possible to play the game for free. In addition to the large amounts of ecchi and fan service, it also includes certain voiced and graphical representations of sexual harassment that may not be suitable for certain audiences. If you don't mind these restrictions, then read on.


Story

The founder of the island resort, Zack Lee, decides to invite the various characters from the DEAD OR ALIVE series along with several other new characters exclusive to the PC version to get acquainted with the owner (the player) who Zack is entrusting to manage the resort in his stead.


The owner will host beach volleyball games, design new swimwear for the various girls, and organize a variety of other activities for the girls to enjoy during their stay in Venus Island as they get to know the owner and the other girls better.





What's in it

This game runs like a persistent online game in the form of a different themed event every week that usually has at least a couple of cutscenes, partial voice acting with each girl being voiced by a different voice actress, and a variety of items to be won for that week. Some of the voiced lines are not translated and don't have subtitles in the English version.


This game is not meant for players who plan to speedrun through everything as it can take months of grinding to get a girl to level 50 out of 80. Neither would I advise spending any money on gachas as the benefits are too short at only one week, and the rate of winning anything is so low it can be very disappointing.


Nevertheless, if the player is sensible enough to manage the in-game resources wisely, and can afford the time to spend about 20 minutes to an hour or so each day, at higher levels it is possible to unlock virtually every girl, level them up, and unlock their stories without spending a cent.


In this review, I will be covering my progress in the game across three different stages after spending more than a year in the English version of the game. The Japanese version is 16 months ahead of the English version, has more girls available for players to unlock, wider variety of background music, more items for players to use, and fanservice elements.


Of course the Japanese version only supports Japanese language, but this version of the game is more competitive at online ranked multiplayer events compared to the English one.




Early stage gameplay (Levels 1-20)

When starting out, you are given a short tutorial on how things work in the game and a choice of two girls to play matches. At very low levels, I had to play low-ranked matches which yielded low rewards. I had to manage resources wisely to play matches and complete the daily missions with only weak rare and super rare (SR) equipment. I wasn't that lucky at gachas, and didn't remember winning any of the super super rare (SSR) swimwear available at that time. However, I did start to collect my first few SSR swimwears on the girls' birthdays that can be obtained for free on those specific days of the year, and from completing a particular main match which is always guaranteed. Little by little, I began to win the higher ranked matches and win prizes to level up my characters, upgrade gear, unlock more girls, and play gachas with free Venus stones more often.


Mid-stage gameplay (Levels 20-49)

A couple of months into the game I started to see my luck improving as I would win trend SSR swimwear that gives a huge bonus to the girl that the event is for that week. I started to unlock more girls and began to stockpile on a lot of prizes and resources. Most of the time will usually be spent skipping through most matches just to grind points and various items. With the trend SSR outfits, it becomes possible to win most of the event matches by simply skipping entire matches in the event that I didn't win anything at the week's gachas.


Late-stage gameplay (Levels >50)

After more than half a year into the game, I have unlocked most of the girls except those behind paywalls, all with trend SSR swimwear. I have also collected a few SSR accessories for certain girls in prizes at certain events, or by reaching a certain ranking in the online leaderboard. At this point, the gameplay, background music, and voiced dialogue has become so repetitive that I usually turn off all sound and find myself autoclicking to skip all matches while watching online videos or doing my other stuff (such as writing this review (✿◠‿◠) ) on another window in my computer. In addition, it becomes possible to awaken a particular girl's trend SSR swimwear to maximum rank which may bring out the cuteness or fanservice, and unlock certain hidden passive skills that confer a massive advantage to make it easier to skip and win even high-ranked matches as a reward.